Want to learn how to draw cute stuff for you planner or journal? Are you attracted to doodling in your bullet journal but overwhelmed because you don’t know how to draw?
Have you tried how to draw classes only to be bored to tears? (Um…me too).
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It wasn’t long ago that I wrote on this blog that I don’t know how to draw. You can look back at some of my early journaling posts to see how bad my drawing and lettering was.
My drawing and lettering skills were so bad that I almost quit this blog! Who was I to teach people how to bullet journal when I couldn’t draw? That all changed once I decided to change my story and give myself a chance.
Because learning to draw is a skill, it doesn’t require you to be born with talent.
Learning to draw also doesn’t have to be boring or complicated.
If you just want to draw for fun and relaxation, to draw in in your bullet journal or in an art journal, you can totally learn how to create amazing drawings.
This is where my love for “How to Draw” books came in. (Visit my How to Draw Amazon store for my favorite books on how to draw stuff).
This post is going to be a bit different than some of the others ones on the subject. Instead of directing you to how to draw books that are directed at all the technical aspects of drawing, I’m going to point you in the direction of picking drawing books that are fun.
I’m attracted to cute creatures, cute animal drawing, bullet journal books for doodles, and creative techniques for creating cute stuff for those with basic art skills (or no skills). Although I like books that provide simple step by step instructions, I also think you can make a successful drawing by relying on inspiration from others.
Although all the stuff like perspective, rendering, and all that other stuff is important, my goal for creating art is to have fun and relax.
Professional artists probably won’t find too much in this list, but for those who are just developing their drawing skills and who want to learn to draw for their bullet journal ro for fun, here are some of my favorite drawing books for beginners.
To see all of these books in one place, visit my Amazon “How To Draw Books” store
My favorite art book is:
Drawing From The Right Side of Your Brain
Ok, I just said that I was only going to include books that are fun.
Drawing From the Right Side of Your Brain is my number one recommendation for anyone looking to learn to draw.
This book looks incredibly boring, but it changed my life so I have to include it. Also, just because it looks boring, doesn’t mean it is 🙂 It is a beginner-friendly book and if you don’t know how to draw, it’s a great place to start because it will teach you how to think about drawing.
This classic resource is a must have for every skill level. It’s an awesome resource for learning how to think when drawing.
If you’re new to drawing you might feel like you don’t have imagination. In fact, maybe you really don’t have “imagination” when it comes to creating artwork.
I can’t see images in my head. For example, if you tell me to draw a tree, I can’t just come up with a picture of a tree in my head and draw it. I need to look at photos and references.
As a beginner, I didn’t know that was even a thing.
I thought you had to come up with art ideas in your head and then draw them. I can’t do that, so I didn’t think I could draw.
This book taught me that in order to learn to draw, I had to learn how to see. You may have a picture in your head (unlike me) of what a tree looks like. But go outside (or look at a picture) and see what a tree really looks like. There’s a difference.
When you learn how to draw what you see instead of drawing what you think you should see, it opens up a whole new world to you.
The exercises in this book taught me that I could do much more than I would have ever thought possible. The book changed the way I see the world and completely changed my story from “I can’t draw” to “I can draw anything I want to as long as I can see it.”
I even started taking more complicated drawing classes recently. Here’s an example of something I drew while following an artist’s instruction. This is not traced. In the past I would have thought to myself “I can’t draw that, it’s too hard.” But after reading this book, I know all I have to do is draw the shapes as I see them.
LIFE CHANGING. I can’t recommend this book enough.
If you want to learn how to draw, I highly recommend this book. The easy-to-follow instructions and exercises in this book will give you the necessary foundation for all of your other art projects.
It’ s like learning to crawl before you can walk. Learning to see will help you learn how to draw.
Once you learn that, then you really can draw anything.
Nearly every how to draw book is going to require that you’re able to follow along by seeing what the author is teaching. Once you have this skill, it makes all of the how to draw books (even the hardest ones) accessible to you.
Along with the regular text, there is also a Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain workbook to help you to follow through with all of the practical exercises included. I have the workbook but have no yet had a chance to use it.
Ok, let’s get on to the fun books!
So what are the fun books I recommend?
Botanical Line Drawing
Another good book for how to draw florals is Botanical Line Drawing by Peggy Dean. These are simpler than the ones in Florals by Hand and they give you a large variety of florals.
I love drawing florals because the line drawings always end up so pretty. These are perfect for drawing in your bullet journal, for creating coloring pages, or really anything else. I love using flowers and leaves in my doodles.
This book provides a step by step tutorial for drawing a variety of flowers and leaves. It’s a great place to start.
How to Draw Modern Florals
For more advanced floral drawing, I recommend How to Draw Modern Florals and the author’s other book. At first they may look complicated but the author uses a nice system of teaching how to draw with simple steps. Although the drawings can be somewhat intricate, I like the way she uses a color on the steps to show you what parts you should be drawing next.
These are my top books on drawing florals. You’ll be amazed at what you can create when you follow these tutorials.
I recommend taking your time and going through the tutorials step by step. Then add some color. They are so pretty.
How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
Have you ever looked at a coloring book with lots of florals and beautiful doodles and wished you could create something like that?
I love Johanna Basford’s work and was super excited to see she came out with a how to draw book. I love that How to Draw Inky Wonderlands is doodly (that’s not a word).
You’ll learn how to create doodle flowers, fish, bugs, birds, and more. She does a nice job of teaching you the step by step of drawing doodles and then also how to create an overall page similar to what she does in her coloring books.
Animal Line Drawing
Animal Line Drawing by Peggy Dean is similar to the Botanical Line Drawing book in that you’re going to get a large variety of how to draw examples, but of animals this time.
The animals are more realistic looking instead of cartoony. Well, they aren’t truly realistic but they also aren’t cute. I hope that makes sense. These animals are essentially sketches of real animals rather than cartoon versions of animals.
I think this is a good book for learning how to draw different animal shapes.
Since I prefer to draw cute things, it’s not necessarily a book that I grab very often. I prefer something like:
Kawaii Doodle Class
One of the first drawing books I’ve ever tried to follow (back when I still didn’t know how to draw) was Kawaii Doodle Class. Part of me finds these drawings weird, but the other part of me finds them really cute. This book will teach you how to draw things like tacos with faces. You’ll also learn how to make a bunch of different blob monsters.
If you’re drawn to the doodles of objects with cute faces, I recommend this book. It includes plants, flowers, food, objects, and animals all with that cute kawaii look. The drawings are pretty simple so you’ll learn how to do these pretty easily.
How to Draw Cute Animals
How to Draw Cute Animals teaches you how to draw cute “kawaii” animals. The book has some step by step instructions but then also shows you different poses and such you can create with your cute drawings.
What I like about this book is it helps you to learn how to create the cute cartoony animal shapes that lead to something looking cute. Most of the animal drawings in this book look kind of chubby, which leads to them looking cute.
If you want to learn how to make cute stuff though, I highly recommend:
How to Draw Cartoon Cute Animals
How to Draw Cartoon Cute Animals shows you how to draw cute animals like you would see in cartoons. There are step by step drawings in here but I don’t think these are the strength of this book. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll be able to draw using his step by step drawings, but some of the steps have a lot of additions to them so you may want to practice with some of the other books first if that’s what you’re looking for.
Where this book really shines is in teaching you the tips and tricks necessary to draw something cute. For example, the book will teach you how to draw facial features so they are cute rather than serious or comical. You’ll learn which head or body shape lends to cuteness in a drawing. I especially loved the lessons on eyes and how to make cute eyes.
This is a great how to draw book because it gives you a background of how to think when drawing cute things in the future.
Since I don’t want to draw exact replicas from books, I think this is awesome.
This author has a lot of great books, but this is the one that I started with.
Trust Me You Can Draw
I saw the book Trust me You Can Draw recommended in a Facebook group and had to immediately go out and buy it. I even created a Tiktok flipthrough when I got it since it’s so cute. (Seriously, I say it’s so cute like 15,000 times in my video).
This book teaches you step by step drawing for lettering and doodles. These are exactly the type of style that I’m drawn to. The book subtitle is “The Super-Cute, Can’t Fail, Totally Awesome, Best-Ever Doodling, Lettering and Coloring book.” I agree.
I haven’t mentioned lettering yet, but learning to draw letters is a great way to learn to draw. You already know how to draw letters. You already know the shape. Even someone with aphantasia like me knows how to draw letters from my head.
But can you draw them cute? With this book you can.
I think it might be the perfect book for you if you want to learn how to create cute drawings.
Nothing is more fun than drawing letters and then putting doodles in them! Several of the letters in this book are thick enough to allow for that so I love them!
And there’s a unicorn, so that’s important. I’ve found it weirdly hard to find unicorn drawing books.
Speaking of lettering and alphabets, I quite enjoyed the book on Artful Alphabets, which gives you 55 different ways to draw the alphabet.
Several of them are super fun and I love the way they’ve turned out!
One thing I really like about Joanne Sharpe’s books is that she encourages you to start where you are, using your own handwriting to create pretty letters.
I wouldn’t say that all of her letters are pretty or cute (which is what I generally like), but they are creative and give you lots of inspiration!
I drew the picture on the right while following this book:
The Art of Drawing Dangles: Creating Decorative Letters and Art with Charms
I love doodling and was drawn to The Art of Drawing Dangles when looking for different patterns to use in my doodling. There are a lot of cute patterns and dangles in this book to provide inspiration.
I recommend this book so that you can follow her step by step instruction for drawing really cool letters with doodles and dangles.
Journal With Purpose by Helen Colebrook
I was hesitant to add Journal With Purpose in since it is more of an inspiration book instead of a how to draw book per se. I had to add it though because I use it all the time. It is useful for finding cute little doodles to add to your journal. I even based some of my digital stickers in my digital stickers course on drawings from this book.
What is this book? I want to make it clear that you’re not really getting many step by step drawing guides in this book. There are a few, I believe one at the beginning of each section. What this book mostly is though is a collection of approximately 1000 doodles and drawings that serve as a step off point and inspiration for your drawings.
If you copy the drawings, you are learning how to see and draw the shapes she provides. Once you know how to draw her drawings, you can tweak things to make them your own.
This is a book that is best used for inspiration though unless you are ok with making exact replicas of someone else’s drawings. Of course as I write that I realize that is a possiblity with each of htese options. You have to make a deliberate choice not to do so.
An Introduction to Hand Lettering with Decorative Elements
This book surprised me because I thought I was purchasing a hand lettering book, but it’s so much more than that. Maybe I should also say it’s so much less than that since it doesn’t really seem to be much of a lettering book, although there are some lettering examples throughout.
Instead An Introduction to Hand Lettering with Decorative Elements is a great resource for inspriration for adding doodles to your bullet journal pages.
Within this book you’ll find inspiration for floral doodles, leaves, ribbons, arrows, borters, patterns, herats, stars, and a large variety of other themed doodles, similar to how I wrote this post on bullet journal doodles. This is not a step by step how to draw book. Instead it’s a book that provides some inspiration to follow.
Fun Fab Faces by Karen Campbell
If you would have asked me if I could draw a face a year ago, I would have said NO WAY. It seems way too complicated. But, like everything else, faces are made up of shapes.
I found Karen Campbell on a Facebook ad and immediately bought one of her courses. I like the idea of drawing cute whimsical faces. Even better, I like the idea of it being easy to draw cute whimsical faces.
Her book Fun Fab Faces breaks faces down so simply. The templates she offers in this book are easy to follow and will have you drawing cute faces in no time.
I used to think the hardest thing was eyes. Karen teaches how to draw eyes by starting with just ovals. Anyone can draw an oval! Although I started out using symmetry in Procreate to draw eyes, I no longer have to do that after learning about how to create these fun fab faces with Karen.
Karen has created other books that are highly recommended. The second fun fab faces book teaches how to draw faces in profile instead of straight on. She also has one on drawing male faces. In her book Whimsical Women of the World, she teaches you how to create a variety of different women.
How to Draw and Find Your Style
Ok, How to Draw and Find Your Style is also by Karen Campbell. Her teaching style resonates with me and I love all the references she includes in her books to make it easy to draw faces.
There are a ton of step by step examples in this book along with some photos to use as reference. If youw ant to learn how to draw faces, especially fun whimsical faces, I recommend all of Karen’s books.
She doesn’t do a lot of realistic faces; however, for me that’s ok because those are more tedious and I’m looking to have fun when I draw 🙂
Learn to Draw Cartoons
Learn to Draw Cartoons is a great book that I’m using to learn to draw easy cartoon faces that are different than what I’m learning from Karen. I love Karen’s style but I also want to make sure that I can branch out and create my own style.
I chose to create a challenge for myself with this book and am working through each page of this book. That means I am going page by page and drawing each of the illustrations in this book.
I’m currently on page 42. Although some of them are not things I would normally draw, I’m learning a lot about how facial features go together by following the step by step drawings.
One thing I’ve learned in my drawing journey is that I need to try new things, even if I’m not attracted to them at first because I’ve learned so much from drawing a variety of things.
I’ve mentioned several times that I love to doodle. I love doodling patterns in letters, in boxes, and in drawings. I’ve purchased so many books on doodling trying to find great inspiration for doodling.
I hate most of them.
Recently I head Dyan Reavely say “Zen Tangles are devil’s work” haha because they require concentration and thought. I have to say that I mostly agree with her!
Not only that but have you ever noticed that the drawings in Zen Tangle books are kind of ugly? I think it partly has to do with the shading they do on the drawings, but I have a hard time with most of those books because they are just so ugly.
If you want to find some inspiration for doodling, I recommend Pinterest. There are a lot of examples there. I also recommend looking in lettering and journaling books for fun patterns that can be used for making things like borders.
To me doodling should be fun and cute.
I’ve created Zen Tangle inspired doodles and the one I drew in a pumpkin took over 6 hours! Lots of thinking, lots of hand pain. I love how it turned out, but I’m not sure it was worth it.
I recently took a class that taught how to use just a few simple doodles to create some amazingly beautiful works of art, mostly white ink on black paper, which is super cool. I recommend taking this class which you can get on Etsy if you want to learn how to doodle with patterns.
Similarly, I feel like you’ll find better inspiration for drawing mandalas online instead of in books. I have purchased a ton of how to draw mandala books and haven’t really liked any of them.